Ag included in national defense bill

Ag included in national defense bill
Jul 26, 2023

The PASS Act will prohibit stakeholders from certain countries from owning U.S. farmland

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

An amendment to a national defense bill to help safeguard U.S. agriculture from foreign entities passed in the Senate.

The Promoting Agriculture Safeguards and Security (PASS) Act, which received bipartisan support, prohibits foreign stakeholders from China, Russia, Iran and North Korea from purchasing U.S. farmland and agricultural companies.

In addition, the bill adds the secretary of agriculture as a member of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States and requires the president to provide a report any time a waiver is granted to a prohibited country.

The PASS Act is attached to the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2024. It will be reconciled with the House-passed defense spending bill.

Food security is related to national security and Congress needs to treat agriculture as such, said Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY).

The U.S. can’t afford to let foreign entities to “undermine the efforts of our farmers, whose hard work feeds and fuels our communities,” she said in a statement. “We cannot allow our adversaries to control land near our military installations and we cannot cede any ownership of our food supply to those who are actively working against our security interests.”

The prohibited countries collectively owned hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland.

In March 2023, Secretary Vilsack informed the Senate ag committee that Iran, North Korea, China and Russia owned about 400,000 acres of farmland.

For context, farmers in Kossuth County, Iowa, planted 292,000 acres of corn in 2022.

And between 2021 and 2020, Chinese ownership of U.S. farmland increases from $81 million to $1.8 billion.

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